Members of the midget Craig hockey team skate to warm up for a game earlier in November. The 14-18 age group of players in Craig have already played several games in the season in the Colorado Competitive Youth Hockey League.

Photo by Nate Waggenspack

Members of the midget Craig hockey team skate to warm up for a game earlier in November. The 14-18 age group of players in Craig have already played several games in the season in the Colorado Competitive Youth Hockey League.

Craig hockey faces uphill battle against tough teams

Team at a glance...

Coach: Tanya Ferguson

Key team stat: The midgets team has just two seniors this year, but a host of younger players looking to gain experience.

Craig hockey is looking to make its mark on the state this winter.

While not a varsity high school sport at Moffat County High School, a dedicated group of high school-age (14-18) players spend their winters competing on the ice.

The Bulldogs team from Craig plays in the Colorado Amateur Hockey Association’s Colorado Competitive Youth Hockey League against teams from across the state. While early season results have not been anything to write home about, that is mostly a result of the competition the Bulldogs have faced so far.

With the dissolution of a Western Slope League years ago, Craig hockey goes up against teams mostly from the high Rockies and Denver area, as well as Aspen, where they play hockey year-round.

The result is teams with much more experience going up against the Bulldogs at the beginning of the year. Still, the Moffat County Ice Rink at Loudy-Simpson is a great place to get up close and watch the local youth skate, hit and shoot.

Craig Daily Press talked with head coach Tanya Ferguson about the 2012-13 hockey season:

Craig Daily Press: This isn’t a varsity high school sport. Talk about the league you play in.

Tanya Ferguson: We’re in what’s called the CDCCYHL. We used to be in the rocky Mountain division which is no longer in existence. Now we play a lot of teams from Denver, not just Western Slope teams. It’s a lot harder than what we’ve been in.

CDP: And what does the makeup of this high school team look like?

TF: You can be a midget (ages 14-18) for four years. This year we only have one freshman, but we have four kids who are sophomores in their first year of playing midgets because of the way their birthday falls. We only have two seniors. We have a brand new goalie.

CDP: Are most of the teams you go against older than you guys?

TF: I would say so. They are Denver, Front Range, ice all year long. It’s a huge difference. Oct. 9 was our first day (of practice).

CDP: Are there any other Western Slope teams who you play.

TF: We play Aspen, Crested Butte and the Durango-Telluride combination team. They are really the only Western Slope teams left.

CDP: What goals do you have with this team from a style of play standpoint?

TF: Our system is all about passing. We want to see who trusts each other and who works well together. In the early part of the season (which runs through January), we’re looking for players that mesh well together and start to gain some trust. There will be improvement over the course of the year.

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com.

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